Tag Archives: Social Media

Losing the Forest for the Trees

TechPresident was out with a great article last month which analyzed how the presidential campaigns have leveraged social media thus far in 2012. The author points out that they’ve drilled into micro-targeting, data mining, and hyper-segmentation. Where once campaigns focused on “white women over 65,” now they are after “the middle child who likes Jay-Z, studied philosophy, plays trombone and tweets about Mad Men.” It’s an extreme, but just barely. The author draws three conclusions from this new approach.

First, too much of the mainstream political media coverage of tech’s role in the campaign falls for the digital candy

Second, compared to 2004 or 2008, in 2012 the relative balance of power between campaigns and voters–in terms of how they use interactive communications technologies to influence the course of the election, has subtly but substantially shifted back toward the campaigns.

Third, both the Obama and Romney campaigns are deeply and quietly invested in plugging into their supporters’ social networks, a process I called “Facebookization.” Unlike four years ago, when we saw a flowering of user-generated Facebook groups (led by the “Million Strong for Obama”), here the game is all about the campaigns’ ability to access their supporters’ social graph, mine them for insights and then presumably make sophisticated and targeted use of word-of-mouth networks.

The big campaigns are fine tuning their message to make sure it gets in front of the right people. They’ve mistaken powerful tools  as sources of information instead of as new mediums for conversation. Here at Voters Act, we feel that the new approach misses the point. Social media isn’t about targeting people more effectively – voters have proven that they’re increasingly unaffected by political messaging – instead, social media is about giving your supporters a narrative worth sharing. While the current strategy reaches ever-deeper into our online information, social media’s real strength allow unparalleled outreach so that your supporters can tell their friends why you should be elected.

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“You Gotta Try This”

Andy Sernovitz is the guru of word of mouth marketing. His blog today highlighted data gleaned from the new Global Trust in Advertising study. Here’s the pull quote.

“92% of people trust recommendations from people they know. 47% of people trust ads on TV.”

When we talk about social media and politics, we’re not talking about buying ads on Facebook and Google. What we’re talking about is the ease of communication between individuals and their friends. If I’m going to see Tom Petty, I can now tell everyone I know in Austin in 30 seconds. If my favorite restaurant is Franklin’s BBQ, I can advocate online and my friends are more likely to trust what I say about Franklin’s than what Franklin’s says about itself.

It’s the same with political outreach. Up until this election, campaigns have raised millions of dollars so they can tell people about themselves. Going forward, that won’t be necessary. The best candidates will have supporters telling their friends on the candidate’s behalf. It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s 45% more effective than the old way. That’s what Voters Act is all about.

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Political Fundraising in the Social Media Era

Fascinating infographic courtesy of MDG Advertising. Will your fundraising be social in 2012?



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Making Politics Participatory: 8 Websites That We Like

Voters Act forms just a small part of a growing movement to take campaign finance and publicity online. This revolution in fundraising not only makes politics easier, but more participatory as well. Here’s a collection of online services that have already taken substantial steps in transforming the landscape of campaign fundraising and publicity.

Each of these websites allows you to quickly create fundraising pages of your own in just a few easy steps. They also boast social media tools that allow to not only raise money, but to spread the word about a campaign to friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t use us, use one of these guys. Get your supporters more involved in your campaign.


  • To date, $985 million (and counting) raised on Fundly
  • Harnesses the power of a “social donation” to use social networks to for fundraising.
  • Use Fundly for not just political campaigns, but also charities, events, individuals.. just about anything.

Election Mall

  • Very similar to Fundly. Use social networking to promote an easily created fundraising page.
  • Also  helps with selling tickets to fundraising events, email blasts, and managing phone-a-thons.
  • Heavy involvement in campaigns in the U.S. and all over the world. Powered by Microsoft


  • $100 thousand a day since 1998
  • “more online money has been raised through eDonation for candidates, non-profits, and public affairs campaigns than any other system”
  • Partnership with IBM
  • Includes automatic “thank you emails” and option to survey donors
  • Caveat: upon looking at their client list, funds have been raised exclusively for the GOP.


  • This site’s strengths come in its extremely simple yet flexible interface, as explained in this clip
  • The website offers a blog with some interesting themes, although it hasn’t been updated in a while
  • Easy-to-use follow tools for thanking and keeping track of donors
  • Try for free for the first 30 days.
  • Click here to find a cool video about fundraising with Webconnex


  • Website on this list that most closely resembles Voters Act
  • From the website:
    • “Create multiple online fundraising campaigns
    • Share your cause with free web and social marketing tools
    • Raise money online via your website, facebook, twitter, and more
    • Manage multiple fundraisers, donations, and donors”
  • This website also charges zero fees beyond a transaction payment to cover processing.


  • Emphasis on ability to make multiple websites for a single candidate or cause.
  • Easy experience for donors: provides simple recurring donation plan for donors as well as tax-deduct forms.
  • Substantial assistance with major web development changes to website for little to zero extra charge.

Campaign Partner

  • Depending on the plan, Campaign Partner costs $29, $49, or $69 per month.
  • Offers basic help with web design; appears to have solid support crew
  • Interface allows user to incorporate just about any materials of their own, such as using one’s domain name or importing one’s contacts.
  • Month-to-month service, no contract necessary
  • They provide you with email at your own domain name for no extra charge.

Big Canvass

  • Service operates almost entirely through facebook.
  • Free set-up and perhaps the simplest operation on this list
  • A much more basic alternative, perhaps more fitting for smaller scale elections without too many flashy features
  • Donations processed through PayPal.
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